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VI. Advances in Creative Forces® Clinical Research Conclusion

Section VI: Conclusion of Advances in Creative Forces® Clinical Research and Applications of the Creative Arts Therapies for Treating PTSD and TBI in Military-Connected Populations by Dr. Donna Betts.

Art Therapy
Dance/Movement Therapy
Expressive Arts Therapy
Music Therapy

Advances in Creative Forces Clinical Research Conclusion

Research on the use of creative arts therapies in clinical care, assessment, and evaluation—including in settings supported by Creative Forces—is beginning to explore the ability of these therapies to improve service members’ quality-of-life outcomes (e.g., readiness for duty, ability to work, live independently, and complete educational programs). Scholars have also begun to investigate system-wide benefits of such therapies—e.g., the implications for cost-effective, sustainable treatment options and their ability to shorten the length of treatment, advance treatment progress, or accelerate readiness for treatment (Decker, Deaver, Abbey, Campbell, & Turpin, 2019; DeLoach Walworth, 2005; Karkou, Aithal, Zubala, & Meekums, 2019; Romo & Gifford, 2007; Standley, 2012; Uttley et al., 2015). Despite these identified benefits, several factors present a challenge to the Creative Forces clinical research initiative (National Endowment for the Arts, 2017). Given the different clinical practices across creative arts therapies disciplines, the program operates within a complex environment. Other confounding factors include: varying levels of evidence across the different creative arts therapy disciplines; the nature of the unique populations served by Creative Forces (i.e. the differences in characteristics among individuals); and the role of creative arts therapies in integrative medicine. While efforts to address these challenges are being pursued and the research to date provides foundational evidence supporting use of the creative arts therapies for military personnel exposed to trauma, further investigation is needed.

For a rigorous research program within and across creative arts therapies, there is a need for theory-driven research guided by compelling research questions and hypotheses. To this end, Creative Forces is developing conceptual frameworks for the creative arts therapy disciplines (as well as for therapeutic writing). This process includes developing a protocol of underlying mechanisms, outcomes, and associated measures, priority research questions/hypotheses, and rigorous study designs that may extend to prospective multisite trials in collaboration with other health/rehabilitation disciplines. Of particular importance is the need to investigate mechanisms of change, economic/care efficiency, and occupational (return to duty) and social/emotional benefits for each creative arts therapy discipline.

As practitioners across the country seek effective interventions for military personnel and their families, Creative Forces provides pathways for healing and meaning making as part of an integrated care approach (National Endowment for the Arts, 2018). The Creative Forces’ research strategic framework and agenda formalizes a commitment to strategic objectives that are guiding the program to develop the necessary leadership, infrastructure, and capacity to support and direct the research and guide the treatments with a greater degree of precision. Further success in the program’s research efforts will yield new knowledge on how the creative arts therapies can be tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Creative Forces upholds a fervent commitment to pursuing rigorous biomedical and behavioral research on the effectiveness of the creative arts therapies.

Continue reading "Advances in Creative Forces Clinical Research": Full PDF ArticleI.Creative Arts Therapies PTSD and TBI ResearchII. Clinical Research, III. Arts Therapy ResearchIV. Music Therapy ResearchV. Telehealth ProgramVI. Conclusion

For more information on Creative Forces clinical research visit the Clinical Research Findings page and the National Resource Center Creative Forces Clinical Research Resources Collection.

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